Saturday, July 03, 2004
He3 launch a damp squib
He3 public beta has been launched to much fanfare in mailing lists and the blogging community. But the impact of He3 is more fizz than bang.
For the uninitiated, He3 is a ColdFusion IDE that leverages the open source Eclipse IDE platform. The Eclipse platform is very mature, has a range of features and is built to be extended to accommodate just about any development task. He3 is simply a commercial plugin for the Eclipse editor that focuses on the ColdFusion development world.
He3 makes it easier for beginners and those unfamiliar with Eclipse by providing a complete download and installer. So you just download the He3 bundle and install rather than having to install Eclipse and the plugin separately. He3 also has a number of features over and above your staple fare of colour coding and tag hinting aimed at supporting the Fusebox and Mach-ii frameworks.
The real fizzler is that He3 hits the market as a commercial product with little if any distinction from its nearest rival CFEclipse; an open source CF IDE with an established and enthusiastic community. Much of the excitement being generated for the He3 feature set is nothing more than peoples first look at the very slick Eclipse environment -- something common to all Eclipse projects.
The folk at Richpalette can hardly be called to task for overstating the features of their product; an accusation made in some quarters. However, little has been done to curb the enthusiasm of folks mistakenly trumupetting He3 achievements that are in fact very standard Eclipse options. But heh, can you blame them?
Both He3 and CFEclipse are in the earlier phases of development. But if you are a staunch Homesite or CF Studio user you should certainly be investigating these new Eclipse based ColdFusion IDEs. We can only hope that rivalry between the He3 and CFEclipse teams drives them to innovate.
For my part I've all but abandoned Homesite+ for CFEclipse in recent weeks. And rest assured I'll be following both projects very closely.
Posted by modius at 03:23 PM | Permalink
I agree. There is nothing special about He3. It was trumpeted as the IDE to take ColdFusion to the next level. Beta status aside, CFEclipse has more useful features (code outline...awesome).
Don't get me wrong. I hope that He3 does provide a rich set of features. I don't think that XPath and RegEx are apart of my daily needs. At least not enough to drop money for it.
I agree that He3 is riding on Eclipse 3.0's shiny new interface. Nothing special about He3. Keep moving on. Keep moving on to CFEclipse.tigris.org.
What I want in a ColdFusion IDE is the following (and I would pay a good sum for)...
1. UML (as least class diagraming) with round-trip code generation of CFCs
2. CFCUnit integration
3. Ability to run arbitrary CF code directly in IDE (no browser) to test an algorithm or function (like Eclipse's jpage/scrap page concept)
4. Debug code...everything from stepping through code to setting breakpoints to putting watches on variables...ColdFusion Studio 5 but better...(model Eclipse's JDE debugger)
5. Code insight and completion are essential and already out there. But the shite would be somehow to compile in the IDE to view the errors there before testing in the browser. (anything that reduces switching back and forth from browser to IDE)
6. Along the lines of 5, I should not have to create a "test.cfm" file and run it through the browser just to test functionality of any code (CFC or CFM). A combination of 2, 3, 4, and 5 would prevent this.
I have more wants for an IDE but that will have to do for tonight.
Posted by: Brandon on July 3, 2004 03:47 PM
Brandon, most of what you're asking for isn't going to be possible in any IDE at all without substantial changes to how CF works on the backend. #1 is about the only thing that an IDE alone can give you.
Posted by: Sean Corfield on July 3, 2004 04:01 PM
I would think that the product needs modeling capabilities to set itself apart. I'm suprised to hear it doesn't have any.
Posted by: dave ross on July 3, 2004 04:48 PM
It's funny you should mention point 3. I sent a mail to the cfeclipse list today asking about interest in that very feature. I've decided to call it scribble pad and despite Sean's statement to the contrary, I certainly think there are ways to implement it and most of the other things you have requested as long as you are prepared to set a few preferences and accept that you might have to create a dummy project to get there. My attitude is that I can accept having a project that does nothing other than act as a dumping ground for test scripts and the like. This might not even be necessary. We haven't quite decided yet.
Point number 4 is also well under way, but unfortunately I can't really tell you much more other than to say that it should really rock your boat when it's done.
Point 5 we've gone some way to addressing with the code parser and problem view. It will report syntax errors immediately, but at the minute is adimittedly buggy.
Points 6 is covered by point 3. We have a scribble-pad on the way that should give you what you want.
We'll have to think about point 2, but I agree that it's a good idea.
Posted by: Spike on July 3, 2004 06:15 PM
pity you can't easily piece together your own (well, not me anyways...). I'd have a mix of DWMX and HS5.2 with a bit of Visual Studio thrown in.
HS+ isn't it. Neither is Eclipse (sorry guys). maybe He3 will be?
Posted by: barry.b on July 3, 2004 08:45 PM
Eek. 'Nuf said :D
As long as this isn't combined with point 3, then if you can create a webservice that would, for example, take a CFC name and run the tests and return the results in an Xml doc... then I think it shouldn't be too hard.
If enough requests come in... We parse CFML relatively well, CFScript parsing is currently being developed. For simple scripts it may well be possible to do what you ask.
When a server provides a proper debugger that's when it'll arrive.
CFML problems are done. You want the Problems view. Find this via Window->Show View->Problems. I don't think it's shown by default on the CFML perspective.
Hopefully solved by Spike's cunning scratch pad. While essentially it is a test.cfm file, it will probably be indexed by keywords, etc. so you can find it again.
Posted by: Oliver Tupman on July 4, 2004 04:11 AM
uh, what on earth is a "damp squib"?
Posted by: paulH on July 7, 2004 02:53 AM